CHEM 730 : Modern Methods for the Synthesis of Bioactive Molecules


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The use of modern methods for the construction of complex molecules with an emphasis on carbon-carbon bond formation and control of stereochemistry. Principles and practice of synthesis design based on retrosynthetic analysis. Each student will present and discuss a recent synthesis of a complex bioactive organic compound. No formal prerequisite, but knowledge of organic chemistry at the level covered in CHEM 330 will be assumed.

Course Overview

Modern Methods for the Synthesis of Bioactive Molecules covers a range of methods in organic chemistry relevant to the synthesis of complex bioactive molecules. The course content is delivered in two sections. The first section covers modern synthetic methods, with an emphasis on asymmetric synthesis and carbon-carbon bond formation. The focus of this section is on models for understanding the stereochemical outcomes of reactions the application of these techniques to design synthetic strategies towards complex target molecules The second section is focussed on retrosynthetic analysis, a powerful conceptual tool chemists use to design synthetic strategies. In the final part of the course, students prepare and deliver a presentation to the class detailing a recent synthesis of a complex biomolecule. These presentations give the class an opportunity to appreciate the teaching content in a real life context, while introducing students to state-of-the-art synthetic methodologies and tactics.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the importance of asymmetric synthesis and the concept of retrosynthetic analysis (Capability 1)
  2. Be able to describe and explain the strategies available for asymmetric synthesis (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  3. Be able to explain the reactions described in the lectures and explain their stereochemical outcome via the use of reaction mechanisms (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  4. Be able to use appropriate models to predict stereochemistry (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Be able to describe and understand the reagents used and their role in the asymmetric synthesis, to predict the stereochemical outcomes of reactions and to draw the mechanisms involved (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Understand and recognise various synthons and disconnection patterns (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Perform retrosynthetic analysis (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Learn the latest organic chemistry methods and strategies from student presentations (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 35% Individual Test
Test 35% Individual Test
Presentation 30% Group Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Students must pass both tests and the seminars separately to pass the course

Learning Resources

Prior knoweldge of third year undergraduate organic chemistry is expected

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard [15] point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 16 hours of lectures, two one-hour tutorials and 80 hours of work on seminar and test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 02:51 p.m.